Despite several last-minute cancellations, the UFC Vegas 16 event is just about over and we got some pretty cool finishes, including a possible Knockout of the Year candidate. The co-main event of the evening just witnessed undefeated light heavyweight, Jamahal Hill, earn a standing TKO on longtime UFC veteran Ovince Saint Preux. This was pretty much a standup affair, with Hill unloading an accurate barrage of strikes before ultimately overwhelming his adversary. OSP came into this bout ranked #15, so this win for Hill could set him up for a big fight in his next outing. Hill is staying undefeated and advances his young record to 8-0-1.
Before that, the lightweight division saw Gabriel Benitez sniff out a first-round TKO of Justin Jaynes. The finish came when Benitez landed a crippling knee to the body, causing Jaynes to collapse to the canvas in pain. A couple of academic ground strikes landed before the referee had time to step in and wave off the contest. This victory snaps a two-fight losing skid for “Moggly.”
We got a possible Knockout of the Year candidate opening up the main card! Up and coming lightweight prospect, Jordan Leavitt, scored a nasty slamming knockout on Matt Wiman in just a swift 22-seconds. Wiman pulled guard, but instead of falling to the floor, Leavitt remained standing. He framed across the face of Wiman and then slammed him into unconsciousness. What Joaquin Buckley did to Impa Kasanganay is probably a shoo-in for KOTY honors, but this right here is downright filthy. Coming off of the Contender Series, this epic knockout was Leavitt‘s official UFC debut, and it advances his flawless record to 8-0.
On the preliminary portion of the card, Louis Smolka pulled out a second-round TKO of Jose Quinonez. He wasn’t exactly ahead on the scorecards when he earned himself the late takedown and finished the fight with ground strikes. Smolka has now alternated wins and losses in his last five outings, moving his promotional record to 8-7. Before that, 23-year-old featherweight prospect, Ilia Topuria, put some hands on Damon Jackson to pull out a wicked first-round knockout. Topuria was ripping to the body, and used that strategy to open up the head and get the finish. This is two up and two down for Topuria in the UFC, who moves is overall record to 10-0.
**See complete results below
Jamahal Hill def. Ovince Saint Preux by TKO at 3:37 of round 2: Light Heavyweight
Hill launched his punching combos at OSOP, attacking both the body and the head. OSP kept switching his stances, trying to get comfortable. They exchanged leg kicks back and forth, especially when they were both in the southpaw stance. Hill was a bit more active as OSP spent a lot of time sitting back being defensive.
Hill pressed forward again in the second round, swinging his punching combos. OSP attacked the leg, prompting Hill to switch stances for a second. Hill started landing clan with his hands, and started teeing off without anything coming back his way. OSP tried to clinch up, but Hill was determined to let his strikes fly. He unloaded his arsenal fly, keeping OSP on the proverbial ropes until the referee mercifully stepped in.
**It should be noted that OSP missed weight by 1.5 pounds
Gabriel Benitez def. Justin Jaynes by TKO at 4:06 of round 1: Lightweight
Benitez opened up with kicks to the body and to the leg. A slick uppercut briefly staggered Jaynes and Benitez seemed to be on fire. Jaynes started firing back heavy punches, causing some swelling around the left eye of “Moggly.” The referee paused the bout to quickly warn Jaynes about extending his fingers. Benitez went back to the leg kicks and stuck with his uppercut, keeping his foe on the outside. Then, Benitez blasted Jaynes with a stinging knee to the body that dropped him. Jaynes was curled up in agony and Benitez pounced with ground strikes to finish the job.
Roman Dolidze def. John Allan by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-29, 28-29): Light Heavyweight
Dolidze landed a set of punches before achieving a bodylock takedown. He then dropped back for a leg lock, but Allan was able to fight it off and escape to his feet. Dolidze was getting the best of the standup, but Allan was throwing back. A headbutt dropped Allan, giving Dolidze top position, but that was short-lived.
The second round saw Dolidze mixing in kicks with his punches, giving his foe different looks. He then hit a takedown and locked down top position, dropping strikes while maintaining control. Allan scrambled up to his feet just before the bell, but had nowhere near enough time to take back the round.
Allan pressed forward in the final frame. He was letting his hands go and going after Dolidze. He then hit a takedown of his own, but Dolidze used a leg lock attempt to scramble up and get at takedown of his own. Dolidze was able to ride out the rest of the round on top.
Jordan Leavitt def. Matt Wiman by KO at :22 of round 1: Lightweight
To get things going, Leavitt shot in for a double leg and Wiman jumped guard, but while the fight was still on its feet. Leavitt then walked over to his corner while carrying his opponent. He framed against Wiman’s face and then proceeded to slam him to the mat. Wiman was unconscious on impact. Yikes!
Louis Smolka def. Jose Alberto Quinonez by TKO at 2:15 of round 2: Bantamweight
Quinonez quickly earned himself a bodylock takedown, but Smolka just as quickly scrambled back to his feet. Smolka started working his boxing, while Quinonez was attacking the leg. Quinonez was definitely the more aggressive fighter out there. He was leading the dance and dictating the pace. At the end of the round, Smolka got himself a takedown, but Quinonez scrambled up before the bell.
Quinonez scored another early takedown to start the second round, but as soon as Smolka attacked the neck Jose opted to stand back up. It was then Smolka’s turn to get a takedown, but Louis was able to solidify the position and drop some ground strikes. Quinonez exposed his back, and Smolka punched away until he referee stepped in.
Ilia Topuria def. Damon Jackson by KO at 2:38 of round 1: Featherweight
Topuria showcased his striking early on, using feints to set up his ripping hooks to the body. Jackson responded with a hard right hand, followed by closing the distance in the clinch. Topuria broke free and went back to ripping the body. Naturally, the hands of Jackson began to drop, and then that’s when Topuria went over the top. A brutal uppercut to body shot to hook cross put Jackson down. A sinister followup uppercut on a sitting Jackson was downright wicked and an exclamation point on a spectacular win.
Jake Collier def. Gian Villante by unanimous decision (30-27 x3): Heavyweight
Collier came out active, mixing up his punches and kicks while Villante was more focused on throwing his hands. Blood began to trickle from the nose of Collier, but he was still the one throwing more volume. He was ripping to the body with a left hook, and then came over the top with a haymaker to rock Villante. The former middleweight in Collier tried to get the finish, but the toughness of Villante would not allow for it.
Collier continued to get the better of the exchanges in the second act. He was throwing the volume while Villante sat back looking for a big shot. When Villante did throw in combinations, he was landing. Collier did a great job of moving and not letting Villante plant his feet to throw those combinations.
An accidental cup shot from Collier caused an early pause in the third round. The fight resumed and VIllante let off a burst of offense, but that output quickly fizzled. Collier started to to score with his volume, but a cup kick from Villante this time brought another pause to the match. The fight restarted and Collier came out throwing heat. He was pressing forward behind haymakers, prompting Villante to back up and be more defensive.